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In response to a Terrence Vent article, “Neighborhood bounded by old and new: Mix in Latah/Hangman area poses challenge for council” (South Voice, Thursday, March 15, 2018):
Fred Beckey, the pioneering climber who died Oct. 30 at age 94, inspired Spokane mountaineer Chris Kopczynski and some of the biggest names in climbing. Asked for a perspective on Beckey, who occasionally crashed at Kop’s Spokane home as he traveled through he Northwest, Chris said, “It comes down to five words he whispered to me about 35 years ago.”
Two Spokane Mountaineers have lofty senior status for their role in taking a couple of upstart climbers under their wings 50 years ago and launching them toward the top of the world. Bill Fix, 88, and Joe Collins, 89, were among the club members who pioneered climbs throughout the region anywhere within striking distance. They would take epic three-day trips with barely enough time to return home Monday in time for work.
Time does not forget great moments in history, even if the present can sometimes be oblivious. After initially being shunned by the American mountaineering community, the 1980 Spokane-to-Makalu Expedition has recently been recognized by the American Alpine Club as one of the world's 10 most significant climbs of the 20th century.